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Local Maritime Nonprofit offers distance learning

The Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA), headquartered in Warwick, has ramped up its educational offerings during the COVID-19 era with a wide range of online enrichment activities and lesson plans for educators, parents, students in grades K-12, and anyone interested in broadening their knowledge base at www.shiphistory.org.

The lessons, which are free of charge, tell stories of past, present and future maritime topics and discoveries from around the world, accompanied by hands-on learning activities and experiments. Sample lesson plans include: learning about buoyancy by building Lego boats; creating origami ships; building cryptosystems to encode and decode secret messages; using property lost in a shipwreck to calculate losses mathematically; understanding the physics of sailing; and more.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured here is Liliana (age 6, first grader) and Rocco (age 4, pre-K) from Houston, TX, working on a remote learning lesson in buoyancy from the Steamship Historical Society of America. They built a boat constructed out of Legos as part of this fun experiment while at home during the COVID-19 crisis.


The SSHSA’s educational modules are organized by grade level and the five classroom topics of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics that comprise the STEAM approach to learning. In addition, Social Studies modules are offered. “Like the STEAM subjects, our interactive lessons encourage learners of all ages to explore, play and try new things,” states SSHSA Executive Director Matthew Schulte. “Each lesson requires gathering and using evidence to create knowledge or solve problems. We want to spark interest in the maritime world while at the same time share our vast photo archives and remarkable maritime collections.”

Lessons can be completed in parts to occupy one hour of time, or expanded across multiple days. Many of the modules use primary and secondary sourced directly from SSHSA’s collections and maritime reference library. They also feature guided questions, links to additional lessons on the topic, and education standards.

“During the present time, when people are inside their homes looking for new learning opportunities, our interactive web-based resources may be of particular interest,” added Schulte. “Our program is made available thanks to local and federal grants, as well as donors and supporters who see the value in providing free educational tools to parents, teachers and students in the Ocean State and beyond. We are grateful to bring the maritime world to a new, potentially worldwide audience.”

For more information on the Steamship Historical Society of America’s education programs, contact SSHSA Education Coordinator Aimee Bachari at steam@sshsa.org.

The Steamship Historical Society of America, founded in 1935 by seven amateur steamship historians, remains the oldest and largest organization of its kind in the world. SSHSA is a vital source and authority of the nautical and maritime history of engine-powered vessels, from the earliest steam-powered ships to modern ocean liners. Its collections comprise hundreds of thousands of images, artifacts, ephemera, memorabilia, and artwork, as well as a maritime reference library. At the Ship History Center in Warwick, RI, visitors and members alike can peruse ship models, view collections or conduct research. The organization has 2,500 domestic and international members including maritime collectors and artists, navy and merchant mariners, historians, students, genealogists, ship engineers and architects, and maritime history enthusiasts. SSHSA is headquartered at 2500 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886; phone: 401-463-3570; www.sshsa.org

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